UK aligning with US cyber war response strategy?

The UK will respond to cyber attacks as it would to any other national security threat, the Prime Minister says.

Cyber war

David Cameron today indicated the UK Government could respond with physical force to cyber attacks, as the US has pledged to do.

Speaking at the inaugural London Conference on Cyberspace, the Prime Minister said the UK would respond to a cyber attack "as robustly as any other national security threats."

"Every day we see attempts on an industrial scale to steal Government secrets," Cameron said. "Highly sophisticated techniques are being employed."

The US released an International Strategy for Cyberspace document earlier this year, which said "when warranted, the US will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country."

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"We reserve the right to use all necessary means - diplomatic, informational, military, and economic - as appropriate and consistent with applicable international law, in order to defend our nation, our allies, our partners, and our interests."

Whilst the UK has not laid out such strong claims on paper, Cameron's comments indicate the UK is aligning with the US in the cyber strategy space. Cameron described cyber attacks as a "tier one threat."

Every day we see attempts on an industrial scale to steal Government secrets.

US vice president Joe Biden spoke at the London event today in place of secretary of state Hilary Clinton, reiterating the US' strong stance.

"International law principles are not suspended in cyber space," Biden said. "While cyber space is a new realm, we have many years of hard won guidance for this space."

The US vice president noted a problem in determining the responsibility of attacks, however, saying it was more difficult to validate the size of a nation's cyber capabilities than it would be to verify the size of a real-world army.

Advertisement - Article continues below

China has been number one suspect in many hack cases this year. Fingers were pointed to Beijing when security giant RSA was compromised earlier this year. The same happened when a Japanese military contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was hit.

It's open, OK?!

Cameron also took the opportunity to back comments from foreign secretary William Hague from earlier in the day, stressing the need to defend the openness of the internet.

"We cannot go down the heavy-handed route. If we do that we'll crush all that is good about the internet," the prime minister said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Governments mustn't use cyber security as an excuse for censorship Government doesn't own the internet, Government does not shape the internet."

Earlier today, a group of organisations sent a letter to Hague, raising concerns domestic policy was hindering plans to promote web freedom.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The 11 signatories urged the UK Government "to seize this opportunity to reject censorship and surveillance."

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now



Hackers abuse LinkedIn DMs to plant malware

25 Feb 2019
Policy & legislation

Government announces review of IR35 off-payroll changes

8 Jan 2020

Best free malware removal tools 2019

23 Dec 2019
data management

EU-US data transfer tools used by Facebook ruled legal

19 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020